School Lunch Hacks
Trying to come up with lunch ideas for your kids? Do you dread making school lunch? Do your kids prefer “cold lunch” over “hot lunch”? Or do you prefer sending a more budget friendly home lunch? If you’re running out of ideas and trying to stick to a budget, check out these ideas.
Make a weeks worth of sandwiches and freeze them. This works especially well if your kid loves peanut butter sandwiches. If you put the peanut butter on both pieces of bread and the jam, honey, etc. in the middle, the bread doesn’t get soggy and it thaws well. Pull it out of the freezer in the morning, throw it in the lunchbox and it will be thawed by lunch time.
Of course, you can always buy Uncrustables, but my kids always preferred home-made. If your kids aren’t a fan of the crust, but love home-made, make your own with this.
Other sandwich ideas are:
- Peanut butter sandwich with: Jam, honey, Nutella, bananas
- Ham sandwich
- Turkey sandwich
- Other sliced meats
- Chicken salad sandwich
- Egg salad sandwich
- Avocado and Tomato sandwich
You can also use various breads to make it feel like a completely different sandwich. Some ideas are: Rye, wheat, white, bagels, wraps, pita pockets, croissants, french bread, etc.
Make your own Lunchables. Cut up your own lunch meat, cheese, etc and include crackers, hummus, veggies, or whatever other items your kids love. If you prepare several at a time, you can save money. They also could potentially be much healthier than the store bought version.
Prep sides/snacks ahead of time
Prepare snack items/sides once each week by filling individual bags or storage containers with individual portions. Keep the snacks in a specific bucket or drawer in the fridge for easy access. Or even somewhere hidden if your kids keep getting into them. Some ideas are:
- Veggie Straws
You can always buy pre-packaged snacks to save time, but you might end up paying more than doing it yourself.
Freeze anything that you can. Cheese, yogurt, gogurt, grapes, and other fruit can also freeze. This helps them stay cold longer in a lunchbox, but ready to eat when lunch times comes around. I usually pack a similar lunch for myself when trying out new foods to how long items take to thaw.
Use Bento boxes or other containers to prepare a full weeks (or few days worth) of lunches. The Bento boxes are perfect to separate different items. You can also use cupcake liners to divide larger spaces.
If you’re worried about storing your child’s food in plastic containers or want something more Eco-friendly, look for something like the Planet Box. There are also glass containers, but probably not the best option for school where they might break if dropped.
Don’t forget the love notes or jokes. Kids love finding sweet notes from their parent or funny jokes to share with friends in their lunch boxes. Write several notes ahead of time and put them in a convenient place to add to their lunch each day.
Whether you prep weekly, the night before, or pull it all together the night before, figure out what works for your family. Lunch can take a lot of time, but if you come up with a system that works, you’re less likely to dread lunch prep and more likely to actually get the lunch to school each day. What are your lunch prep ideas?
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